Cymru: Calls to Halt Funding to Gardens in Language Dispute

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

Welsh language campaigners have reacted furiously to a decision by the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne to use an English-only sign.

The sign was placed on the A48 advertising an event over Easter and immediately attracted a storm of criticism from Welsh speakers on social media.

The Garden’s explanation that it was designed to attract non-Welsh speaking tourists only seems to have inflamed matters further.

In the latest development the Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith has written to the First Minister Carwyn Jones and Carmarthenshire Council leader Kevin Madge, calling for the garden’s government funding to be halted until such time as it “shows due respect to the Welsh language”.

They say:

“The garden’s attitude towards the Welsh language is very far from what is expected in the 21st Century. Not only that, but when people have complained about the lack of basic services and respect towards the Welsh language, response from the garden’s officers have been unacceptable and bordering on rude. We understand that you provide significant funding to the garden every year. We call on you to hold the funding back until the garden shows due respect to the Welsh language.”

Concerns have also been raised about the high number of mono-lingual pages on the garden’s website.

One resident who lives nearby and first raised the issue of the sign, said the garden could not call itself “national” until it adhered to its own language policy.

Mrs Wyn added that the garden was letting down the 78,000 Welsh speakers living in Carmarthenshire.

The National Botanic Garden’s director has attempted to counter the criticism by reiterating the garden’s commitment to the Welsh language.

She said:

“The garden, as an iconic organisation and environmental flagship for Wales, is very committed to its wide support for the culture, language, and heritage of Wales and makes substantial allocation of resources and effort to this.”

She also apologised describing the sign as “a single targeted, marketing banner”.
However Cymdeithas yr Iaith is unimpressed spokesperson Manon Elin said:

“Why should people fund the National Botanic Garden of Wales when it is so disrespectful towards the Welsh language?”
J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League

17/04/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)

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